My overly complicated desk setup

1 minute read

I would love to have two desks, two rooms, two entirely separate spaces for my work and non-work. However, that’s not the reality of being a person that rents and space is really a premium. So I have a single solitary desk that I’ve figured out over the years how to make work well with my work machine and a number of personal computers.

My goal was to make sure I could use a single keyboard, mouse, microphone, and webcam with all computers. Additionally, I wanted to be able to use my central monitor with all computers setup at my desk.

Diagram of my computer setup

Ultimately it looks something like the above diagram. Where I have a USB Hub connected to a USB switch to handle switching out things like my webcam, microphone, yubikey, etc. I use synergy on my main gaming PC to switch my keyboard and mouse to all connected computers which is generally great until synergy decides it doesn’t want to work that day and I bust out my Anne Pro 2 keyboard with bluetooth.

An HDMI switch allows my middle main monitor to switch between all connected computers. In this diagram I have my PC and work laptop diagramed. However, I do actually have 3 other computers not shown in this diagram connected to the system. All three running linux and one is a desktop sized computer while the other two are various raspberry pi like micro computers.

Photo of the setup in the wild

The main drawback to this setup I feel like is easily seen. There’s just a ton of wires. Additionally, since I want higher refresh rates my monitors are connected to my gaming PC using display port, while the middle on is also connected to the HDMI switch creating quite a wire mess. Other than the sheer number of wires it seems to work well for the limited space I have on the desk.

To the left side of the desk you’ll see a weird extension. Which is actually there so my cat, Dash, has a place to sit. Because otherwise my setup looks a bit like the following diagram:

Dash standing on my desk setup